For the first time ever, SIGGRAPH was held outside of the US and, lucky for us here at VFS, it was in our home town. For me as a SIGGRAPH frequenter, presenting at various booths for MAXON Computer Inc. since 2003, it was an interesting experience to go under the VFS banner this time and focus more on panels and talks and a little less on presenting. Unfortunately, I was so busy at the convention that I had no time to summarize the experience in daily posts, so here is a synopsis of the week as I saw it.
Sunday was the quietest day. The presentations started in the afternoon and most attendees hadn’t arrived yet. From the registration desk, you could already see booths starting to assemble but the bookstore was the place to be. Spontaneous CG book purchase can be pretty expensive.
Hair, fur and feathers seems to be a big trend in the talks with Tangled, Kung Fu Panda 2, Rio, and Rango, as well as illuminating large city environments like those in Cars 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Rio. I sat in on a presentation on Pushing Production Data, including a fantastic PhotoModeling Pipeline from Weta Digital ltd., followed by a talk on Facing Hairy Production Problems.
I sat in on some fascinating discussions regarding topics like Standardizing Open Standards in the Industry that addressed the Academy’s Image Interchange format standards using file formats like ILM’s OpenEXR Image format, as well as ILM and Sony’s new geometry file format, Alembic.io.
I first stopped by the Maxon booth to see what was new with CINEMA 4D Release 13, and right next door NVIDIA had Adobe as guest presenters showing off some of the cool future developments for Adobe software.
I then checked in at the VFS booth on Tuesday to work with Digital Design Student Kim Oxlund as he worked on his Little Mermaid graduate project and answered questions to anyone interested in knowing more about the school.
MAXON had an awesome cocktail party at the Shore Club, where a few lucky, soon to graduate students, Anita Kwan, Kim Oxlund, Erian Trotland, got to meet the MAXON crew and various motion designers from around the world, such as Nick Campbell, Ken Carlson, and David Lewandowski, as well as a few local favorites like Eric Wada (Digital Design Alumni) & Vern Giammartino of The Sequence Group.
Wednesday was a busy day. On top of a presentation on alembic and A rigging class, I presented at the Pixar booth demonstrating MAXON’s Cineman, a connection between CINEMA 4D and Pixar’s Photorealistic RenderMan. After the presentation, it was on to the Pixar Users Group Meeting, where I mingled a little, got an awesome special edition Canadian Pixar teapot, and saw the most amazing rendering demonstration I have ever seen. Let’s just say, a live DJ scratch mix using RenderMan, it was unbelievable.
After the user group, it was on to the NVIDIA Party at the Vancouver Aquarium, a little late mind you, but nothing is cooler than a nice drink while you watch the beluga’s sleep and, of course, the Aquarium’s current pride and joy — Daisy, the baby porpoise.
Thursday started off with a fantastic panel on Curriculum for 3D Animation in Schools. Speakers from Disney, Dreamworks, Cal Arts, Ringling, Goeblin, Filmakedemie and Texas A&M discussed everything from whether it’s students or instructors that make a good school to what is most important to show in a reel when applying out in the industry.
I also stopped by the VFS booth to work with Digital Design Student, Jane Haezer Saputra as she worked on her Compendium title sequence and answered questions to anyone interested in knowing about the program. Sadly we missed out on the Cupcakes.
After that, picked up a fantastic little 3D print of my old moose character from MakerBot. MakerBot was promoting their DIY 3D printing kits and was offering free 3D prints of any model. I couldn’t resist getting a popular old character of mine that I first designed and modeled while I was a student here at VFS in CA41 back in 2002.
Overall it was busy and I think, one month later, that my brain is still trying to comprehend some of the talks I sat in. It was well worth it, and what a treat to experience SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver. The Vancouver SIGGRAPH Chapter should be proud of a very successful event.